Why Oatmeal is a Breakfast Staple in our House and should be in yours as Well

By Liz

oatmeal-breakfast

Oatmeal has been popular since its introduction to the masses in the late 1800’s. In the early 1900’s the first oatmeal cookie debuted, but at that time it was known as an Oat Cake. In 1922 quick oats hit the market which was a blessing for those who found that standing over a pot of traditional oats on the stove to be a bit time consuming. In the mid 1960’s instant oatmeal in their individual packets was introduced, but it wasn’t until 1970 that breakfast rituals hit an all time high with the appearance of flavored instant oatmeal.  The quick, flavored breakfast staple was a success and remains just as popular today.

Like many people my age, I was introduced to regular oatmeal, although instant and flavored oatmeal was in its infancy in the marketplace, my parents stuck with what they knew. They would make us kids regular, stove top, cooked oatmeal.  I remember many mornings sitting and playing with my breakfast until it was cold and inedible.  For me, the taste and the consistency bared a striking resemblance to wall paper paste and as you can imagine, not one of my favorites.  It wasn’t until I was about four that my mind would be changed on this breakfast food forever.

me-and-stevie

It was a cold bitter morning in Middle Village, New York and my mom and I had just returned from walking my brother to school which was located approximately four or so blocks away. I hadn’t eaten breakfast before the trip that morning and was whining about how hungry I was the whole walk home.  Once we got home, my mom put on the tea kettle to boil some water while I struggled to get my layers of winter garb off. She called me to the kitchen and waiting for me on the table was my least favorite breakfast….a bowl of oatmeal, however, as I sat there, I instantly noticed that this did not look or smell like the same bowl of paste like breakfast I was used to eating.  I was enticed by a wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon, and this bowl of hot oatmeal looked so creamy not lumpy and unappealing. Immediately my mouth started to water.  I picked up my spoon and dove in! Since that morning, I have been hooked on flavored oatmeal. Now that’s not to say that I have eaten oatmeal for the majority of my breakfasts since then, but it has remained in my breakfast rotation for many, many years.

What is great about oatmeal, aside from the fact that it has its health benefits, is that is one of those “stick to your ribs” meals, so you don’t need to eat a lot of it to be satiated. It is also inexpensive, easy to make, versatile and has a pretty long shelf life.  Now being a thrifty person, I have done the cost analysis and breakdown of store bought instant oatmeal vs. homemade instant oatmeal.  The truth is the cost of most store brand boxed instant oatmeal per ounce is only really a penny or so more expensive than making it homemade, but let me re-emphasize that it is only if you are buying the cheapest store brand.

oatmeal-lead-pic

Personally, I like making my own mix for instant oatmeal at home and having several mix-INS on hand to change up the flavor, so that I potentially have enough variety to have a different flavor for every morning of the week. I am fortunate enough to live within a 7 mile radius of a Whole Foods, Sprouts and Winco all of which have bulk food departments, Winco being the least expensive of the three.  When I package up my servings I measure out ½ cup of my instant oatmeal mix into snack sized bags, this is slightly more than the 1/3 cup portion that you receive from the store bought boxed packages.

Currently the items I have on hand for mix-ins are as follows:

Dried blueberries

Dried cranberries

Raisins

Peanut butter powder

Chopped pecans and chopped walnuts

Dried apricots

Dried apples

Honey and bananas

Jam or jelly

While currently I am enjoying a mix of dried blueberries and chopped pecans in my instant oatmeal, I have to admit, that to this day my all time favorite has been and will always be, apple and cinnamon, bringing me back to that flavor epiphany I had as a child.

Here is the bulk recipe I use for instant oatmeal I hope that you and your family enjoy it just as much as my family and I have.



Bulk Instant Oatmeal
Serves 13
Delicious instant oatmeal packets you can make at home
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174 calories
34 g
1 g
2 g
6 g
0 g
47 g
29 g
14 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
47g
Servings
13
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174
Calories from Fat 19
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 29mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 34g
11%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 14g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1/2 cup powdered milk
  3. 2/3 cup light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and either pour into a large container to store or package into snack size bags in 1/2 cup servings.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal mixture with hot water.
  3. Enjoy as is or stir in any mix-INS of your choice.
Oatmeal Mix-INS suggestions
  1. Dried fruit
  2. Fresh fruit
  3. Powdered or regular peanut butter
  4. Honey
  5. Chopped nuts
  6. dried apple and cinnamon
  7. Raisins
  8. Chocolate chips
  9. Bananas
  10. Jam or jelly
beta
calories
174
fat
2g
protein
6g
carbs
34g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Feeding my Family on $80 for a Month Part III

money-04

By Liz

If you are just tuning in, feel free to check out Part I and Part II of this series.

So how did I do this week with only $32.10 of my $80 for my Penny Pinching June?

We are really getting down to the wire here and although my dry pantry staples and freezer are still in good shape, it is really things like my perishables I am having issue with. 

We are starting to miss a lot of dairy, items such as cheese, margarine, yogurt, sour cream and now that summer is here, ice cream.  I have been substituting real butter for the margarine, and while agree it tastes better and is better for us, real butter is expensive and does not stretch as far as margarine in certain recipes so I had to break down and get a tub.

Again I went to Aldi, I think I have been doing this to avoid Winco, there are just too many options at Winco, and I feel like I would be overly tempted to purchase more and blow through my cash budget.

Here is a snapshot and list of what I purchased this week:

80-dollars-prt-3-01

1 tub margarine

1 package cream cheese

1 package tortillas

2 dozen eggs

2 rolls of ground turkey

4 avocados

4 peaches

80-dollars-prt-3-02  80-dollars-prt-3-03

I spent a total of $14.63 at Aldi.  Shortly after I got home, I realized I forgot to pick up milk, thankfully one of the boys was already out for the day, so I texted him and asked him to pick up 2 gallons, but he only brought home 1 (kids…insert big sigh here). I repaid him the 97 cents for the milk at dinner time. So my grand total spent for the day was $ 15.60, leaving me $16.50 for my final week of this challenge.




So what did we eat for this week?

Monday: Chili Dog Enchilada Casserole/ homemade potato wedges.

Tuesday: Pork Chili

Wednesday: Hamburgers/macaroni salad.

Thursday: Pizza (prior to the month I had found some rather large take and bake pizza’s that were discounted at Walmart so I picked up a couple and had them in stored in my freezer).

Friday:  Lemon Chicken Penne/garlic bread/salad.

Saturday: Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (I had a spaghetti squash in my fridge for quite some time, so I made this for me instead of the pasta to cut back on the carbs.

Sunday: In honor of Father’s day and in an attempt to spoil my husband who is also a fabulous dad…I made steaks on the grill (that I butchered from a roast)/garlic smashed potatoes/green beans with lemon/sourdough rolls/dark chocolate cake with fresh raspberries.

One more week and it is going to be a huge challenge since our micro garden is now exploding and I need to put those ingredients to use, personally, I am starting to have cheese withdrawal and its summer so my kids want to know…WHERE IS THE ICE CREAM???

 

 


Feeding my Family on $80 for a Month Part II

money-02

By Liz

If you are just tuning in, feel free to check out Part I of this series.

So how did I do this week with only $53.79 of my $80 for my Penny Pinching June?

Well, not too bad. Earlier in the week I was prepping for dinner shortly after lunch, since my cutting board and knife were already out, when I discovered I was missing a key ingredient for dinner.  So with a lot of hemming and hawing, I broke down and went to the store for the one ingredient I needed.

part-2-01

I needed Parmesan cheese for the lasagna rolls I was making that evening, and even though I could have probably omitted it from the recipe, I use a lot of Parmesan in many of my recipes, (comes with being Italian, I guess).  While in the store, my two options were the large container for $4.84 or the smaller container for $3.98, even though I knew I was on a strict budget, buying the larger container was still the better price per ounce, so I hesitantly ponied up the $4.84 for the larger container.  On a side note here, later that afternoon I had emptied the dryer to fold clothes and found $2.36. We have a standing rule in the house that it is “finders; keepers” in regards to money found in the dryer, so I added the $2.36 to my cash budget for food, thereby only costing me $2.48 for the Parmesan.

 


I went to Aldi again this week because I knew the kinds of fresh produce I needed for the upcoming week was going to be comparable in price versus Winco, the store I alternate with Aldi, however Aldi is slightly closer to my house, so I went there again.

Here is a snapshot of everything I purchased that day.

part-2-02

2 gallons of milk

2 packages of strawberries

3 pounds of apples

1 block mozzarella cheese

1 block Swiss cheese

4 peaches

2 cucumbers

3 pounds of bananas

1 package of green onions

2 pounds of white onions

1 quart of half and half

2 dozen eggs

part-2-03

My total came up to $19.21, and with the extra $2.36 from my dryer score, I still have $32.10 for the next 2 weeks.

As mentioned before, we are not living on rice, beans, peanut butter and jelly or breakfast for dinner (you will rarely ever hear me mention that as an option, as my husband despises breakfast for dinner).

So what did we eat for the week? Here was our menu:

Monday: Lasagna rolls; mozzarella/tomato/pesto Paninis.

Tuesday: Steaks on the grill; au gratin potatoes; grilled corn on the cob; fresh baked bread.

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup (ok…I phoned this one in on this particular evening, but most everyone was out for the evening, so it was just me and one of my sons).

Thursday: Rustic Pork Ragu over spaghetti; pita/garlic bread; Caprese salad (basil and tomatoes from our micro garden were used in the salad).

Friday:  Dijon/garlic and lemon salmon; green onion and garlic quinoa; lemon cauliflower.

Saturday: Spinach and Feta cheese sausage and fresh veggies (bell pepper, tomatoes & zucchini from our micro garden) served over brown rice.

Sunday: A quick and easy one pot jambalaya.

So that is how I measured up this week, to be honest, when I was at Walmart for the Parmesan cheese, I felt slightly disheartened seeing many good discounts in their bakery and meat departments, knowing I had to pass them up because all I had on me was my small cash budget that I have to make stretch, BUT that is the purpose of this exercise…right? Well, that and saving $500 cold hard cash.

Stay tuned to see how I do next week.

 


 

Five Frugal for Friday

moneyBy Liz
This week was supposed to be an easy week, but it wound up being busier than anticipated, such is life…right? As busy as it was though, I did find time here and there to sit out on my back patio and read and relax before the weather starts to become unbearably hot and humid.

I hit 2 stores on grocery day this week, and even though this blurb is about saving and not necessarily spending, there were some pretty awesome deals that I could not pass up.

Here is my frugal five for the week:

strawberry

1. Strawberry shortcake. I love angel food cake; it’s light, sweet and low on fat and calories (a dieter’s dream).  I found this discounted cake, strawberries were on sale for 95 cents and whip topping was 86 cents. Total for dessert for the family = $4.16 (or 59 cents per serving), and I did not have to fire up the oven to do it.

spatula

2. Silicone spatula. While at Walmart, I spotted this cool looking, silicone, wooden spatula still in its package (I did take pics in its packaging along with a copy of my receipt, but I could not locate the original pics on my camera). It was not priced, so I located the nearest price scanner in the store and it scanned for a whopping 10 cents…SOLD! I don’t think you can buy anything for 10 cents nowadays.  I think the only reason it was priced so low, was because the packaging had pictures of bunnies and said Happy Easter on it and since Easter was a few weeks ago, the store had marked it down, but my family does not care if I make cupcakes in August with an Easter themed spatula.

3. Almonds. On my way to the checkout at Winco, I passed a cart with some marked down almonds. Each one pound bag had been marked down to 98 cents.  When the cashier originally scanned them, they rang up for $4.26 per bag, until she noticed the discount sticker, she then changed the price to the 98 cents, I picked up 3 bags for a total of $2.94.

almonds

4. I rescued a lemon. On Tuesday, I had made a batch of blueberry, lemon scones. The recipe only called for a small amount of lemon zest only. Even though the lemon only cost me about 20 cents, I could not throw it out. It sat in my fridge in a zip lock bag for a couple of days. Then I decided to make a quick side dish with our chicken on Thursday, which only consisted of these 3 ingredients a little salt.

breakfast-sandwiches

5. Breakfast sandwiches. My kids love breakfast sandwiches and when I had checked my bread freezer,  I had noticed that it is almost time for me to do my monthly shopping at the bread store outlet.  In my freezer was a couple of packages of everything bagels that had been in there for awhile and I did not want them to get freezer burnt, so I pulled them out and made 2 batches for a total of 12 breakfast sandwiches for a total cost of $4.34 or 36 cents a sandwich.

And that my friends is my frugal five for the week. Did you manage to have some frugal moments this week?